Category: David thinking

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Graduating from the Schoolhouse

On Oct. 15, 2007, our family of three relocated to San Diego from the metro-Washington, D.C. area. Looking back at my blog posts from a decade ago, I see very little writing about the move and regret not recording the poignant personal history. It’s not a mistake to be repeated. My wife and I will soon change residences—and while the move is nowhere near as dramatic as the last, this missive you read begins the chronicle of our next adventure.

Strangely, or not, the decision to leave the current apartment is fallout from our failed home-buying effort—for the property we call the Schoolhouse (and affectionately, at one time). Anne and I learned enough to know that we aren’t ready to own, certainly not in overly-priced Southern California. As such, staying put for another year looked likeliest option; we have, or had, until October 20 to sign another year’s lease for our second-floor rental of 10 years. 

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iPhone for Education

Many educators won’t agree, but perhaps students will: The PC, whether desktop or notebook, is obsolete in the classroom. This reality, if accepted for what it is, presents Apple opportunity to retake the K-12 market from Alphabet-subsidiary Google’s incursion and sudden success with Chromebook among U.S. schools. If the fruit-logo company doesn’t seize the moment, a competitor will—and almost certainly selling devices running Android.

Chromebook’s educational appeal is three-fold: low cost, manageability, and easy access to Google informational services. For buy-in price, and TCO, no Apple laptop or tablet running macOS or iOS, respectively, can compete. Think differently! Providing students any kind of computer is shortsighted, by narrowly presuming that schools, or their parents, must buy something. I suggest, in this time of budgetary constraints, that educators instead use what the kids already possess (or want to) and what they use easily and quickly: The smartphone. 

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A Life Lesson

For three summers during high school, I participated in federal assistance program Upward Bound at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. My parents divorced when I was 13, and my then 31 year-old mother chose to raise four children alone. Jobs were scarce in Aroostook County during the early 1970s, and mom couldn’t earn enough. We were poor, by most American measures.

That circumstance and college plans qualified me to spend summers in Southern Maine and someday to attend a school like Bowdoin (I didn’t). The program has expanded such that if I were a high school student today, my UB participation would be at the University of Presque Isle branch rather than the one at Bowdoin. While closer to home (next town over), the benefits wouldn’t be as a great: Getting out of the County’s confines, experiencing life on such a prestigious college campus, watching Shakespeare at the Theater at Monmouth, or traveling—even for a day—to Boston. 

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Be a Better Crowdfunder

To date, my Indiegogo campaign for book Be a Better Blogger is a money loser. Costs exceed the pittance of contributions, and I appreciate every one made. Make no mistake, if you contributed—thank you! But with 11 days to go, and  the campaign about 1.8 percent funded, absolute failure looms large.

So with little to lose, but more money, I hired one of several crowdfunders that emailed or commented soon after the campaign’s launch. I don’t expect much from the $149 fee, which gets me one hour consultation, press release, PR distribution, journalist outreach, and feed submission (whatever that means). But I did receive important insight, which is more a lesson about interacting with others rather than working alone.

Gladwell Makes Me Sad

One of my pet themes is what I call “David Thinking“, and until today I worked on an ebook espousing the concept as a lifestyle philosophy. Now that’s on hold, and it’s not a choice easily made.

I first wrote about David Thinking here in May 2009 post “Why Apple Succeeds and Always Will“. Writer Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker article “How David Beats Goliath: When underdogs break the rules” inspired the concept. He used Ivan Arreguín-Toft‘s research about so-called Davids beating Goliaths as basis for the story. I took the political scientist’s concepts someplace Gladwell didn’t, applying them as a way of thinking differently. I have written about David Thinking often, in posts here and elsewhere.

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Better Place to Be

My last post on this site is dated December 2010. Luckily no squatters took residence in my absence. I stopped writing here simply because I didn’t have time. My responsibilities for BetaNews commanded too much of me, and I shifted personal blogging to Google+. Both are fine places to live—shared common areas—but I seek solitude and escape from the daily news grind; also, I’m sick to death of tech.

I’m not a computer or gadget geek. It’s just my career path. Twenty years ago this autumn, what was then Washington Journalism Review, now American Journalism Review, posted a story that changed my life: “The Future is Now” by Kate McKenna.

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The Keyword to Microsoft’s Search Success

Too many people are wasting too much energy writing about the name for Microsoft’s new search engine—assuming there is going to be one, rather than made-over Windows Live Search. Kumo, Crapo, Frapo, Wacko—who cares? Microsoft could rebrand search Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Bozo the Clown or the Muffin Man. Right now, the name shouldn’t matter to anyone, nor will it make much difference against Google’s dominance. Microsoft must fundamentally change how search works.

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Microsoft Finally Finds a Lifestyle It Can Sell

The most successful companies share several attributes in common. Among the most important: They sell a lifestyle. Apple has effectively done this with multiple products, which is unusual. There are separate, yet related, iPod, iPhone and Mac lifestyles. But many buyers pay a premium price to join the Mac club.

There are plenty of other examples. The Harley Davidson lifestyle is the graying, middle-aged guy, dressed in leather and riding his hog or the stereotypical Hell’s Angels type. Pepsi sells a lifestyle, too. In my youth, it was the “Pepsi Generation.” Now it’s the active, youth sports lifestyle around Mtn. Dew, among other Pepsico products.